Grant: ‘It starts for real’ this week for Flyers

UD’s first opponent, Ball State, looked strong Monday in exhibition game


Dayton has won 12 straight season openers and 15 of its last 16.

Anthony Grant knows how to make an entrance. The Dayton Flyers coach shook hands with everyone at the scorer’s table before his first game at UD Arena, endearing himself to the people who will work steps away from him in 16 home games in the next four-plus months.

A camera followed him the whole way. When UD shared the video Monday on social media, it provided a glimpse of Grant’s style.

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On the bench, Grant proved to be the polar opposite of his predecessor, Archie Miller, whose scowl would have a banner in the rafters if such a thing could be measured.

“It’s a whole different feeling seeing Coach Grant and Coach Archie,” senior guard Darrell Davis said. “Coach Grant is more quiet and laid back. What he says goes. Archie is more up-tempo. He’s trying to get you to understand what he’s trying to say.”

Grant and the Flyers enjoyed a pleasant evening Saturday in an exhibition game against Ohio Dominican. There wasn’t much reason for the new coach to scream and yell. A 79-61 victory answered a few questions about the team, such as who would start and which of the freshmen would be most prepared to contribute.

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However, the first regular-season game will provide a truer test. The Flyers play Ball State at 7 p.m. Friday in the season opener at UD Arena. The Cardinals have won 21 games two seasons in a row.

“This week it starts for real,” Grant said. “We’ve got a great opponent coming in here in Ball State. You look at what they’ve accomplished over the last couple of years. It’s a veteran team. This will be a big challenge for us. We’ve got to make sure we’ve got the right focus and the right preparation.”

Ball State routed Saint Francis (Ind.) 91-67 in an exhibition game Monday. The Cardinals shot 46.2 percent from 3-point range (12 of 26) and had seven players score between 8 and 14 points. One of their top returners, junior Trey Moses, didn’t play because of a hamstring injury, but coach James Whitford said Tuesday he expects Moses to play Friday.

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Dayton started studying the film of Ball State’s exhibition game Tuesday.

“We’ll break it down a little bit,” Grant said, “and get a better feel for the things we need to do to put ourselves in the best position to be successful.”

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